82% of the financial professionals we talk to say they do not have enough prospective clients to talk to each month. They have essentially abandoned their outbound marketing (when advisors initiate contact with investors) and are unfamiliar with inbound marketing (when investors initiate contact with advisors). This lack of familiarity causes them to make frequent mistakes that undermine the success of their marketing efforts.
Needless to say, inbound marketing and the web are major marketing opportunities for financial advisors. However, this is an intensely competitive environment, and there is little room for mistakes that impact strategies and results.
This article will address seven common mistakes that significantly impact the marketing results of advisors:
- Websites are boring sales brochures
- Marketing plans fail to deliver the right information
- Practice selective disclosure on their websites
- Have trouble differentiating themselves from competitors
- Are usually invisible online
- A high percentage of financial planners do not have marketing strategies or realistic budgets
- Fail to focus on money in motion
Mistake #1: Financial advisor websites are boring sales brochures.
Financial advisor websites and sales brochures essentially serve the same marketing purpose. They both deliver information about the advisors that own the websites or produce the sales brochures.
This is a big mistake because the role of websites is substantially different than the purpose of a brochure.
First of all, websites should make it easy for investors to compare the financial services of multiple advisors to each other. Therefore, the website has to be competitive with the other websites that investors visit. When was the last time an investor gathered and used brochures from several advisors for comparison purposes?
This also means the advisor's websites must be competitive with the other websites that investors visit. You cannot say the same for printed sales brochures.
And third, the role of the website is to convert visitors into qualified leads that schedule interviews with financial advisors. When did a brochure do that for you?
Mistake #2: Financial advisor marketing strategies fail to deliver the information that investors are seeking.
No investor will visit one financial advisor's website and hire that advisor unless they feel that they already know that advisor.
It stands to reason the investor will visit several websites and contact the ones they like the best.
Consequently, the websites that deliver the information that investors seek will have a competitive advantage when they select the advisors they want to interview.
Some advisors fail to make the cut when they don't deliver what potential clients are seeking.
Mistake #3: Financial advisors practice selective disclosure on their websites
Most financial firms, particularly smaller ones, tend to withhold information that may make them less competitive. One extreme is the professional firm that works from home. The other extreme is the mega-firm with high overhead and hundreds or thousands of advisors.
It is financial advisor marketing 101 to emphasize strengths and minimize weaknesses. But at the same time, you have to deliver the information that investors are seeking so they can make their comparisons.
Mistake #4: A high percentage of advisors have trouble differentiating themselves from competitors
When advisors find it difficult to differentiate themselves, they all end up looking similar to investors: RIAs, fiduciaries, fee-only, planning, investing, etc.
When they have trouble differentiating themselves, it simply becomes a beauty contest for the investors searching for potential advisors.
When there are no objective differences, the investors will revert to subjective differences. That is, they pick the advisors they like the best.
Financial advisor marketing practices should focus on identifying important differences that benefit investors (their ideal types of clients).
It should also be noted that bromides are not distinguishing characteristics. They are a form of information that may or may not be true.
Mistake #5: Financial advisors are invisible online
A high percentage of advisors are inclined to blame their websites for their lack of results. An example of this would be a website that fails to convert 2% of visitors into qualified leads.
On the other hand, all too often, the real culprit is a lack of visibility online that fails to produce adequate traffic that the website can convert into qualified leads.
However, that doesn't get the website off the hook for the production of leads. Online visibility produces traffic by making advisors easier to find, but advisor websites are responsible for converting the traffic into qualified leads.
The marketing arm of the financial advisory firm needs a well-thought-out strategy that produces a steady flow of new leads for their marketing professionals.
Mistake #6: A high percentage of financial advisors do not have marketing strategies or reasonable budgets.
When financial advisors are dissatisfied with their recent results, there is a good chance their current marketing strategy is not working. In most cases, they have trouble generating a steady flow of new leads. Or, they are having trouble converting leads into qualified prospects (based on conversations that produce mutual interest). Or, and this is the big one, they have trouble converting leads into revenue-producing clients.
Very often, we also talk to financial advisors who do not have adequate marketing budgets. Marketing should be viewed as an investment in the future of their firms. There is an upfront expense that pays dividends down the road when their marketing efforts have produced a critical mass of assets and a positive ROI.
Since a high percentage of financial advisors have flawed marketing strategies, they do not believe a new strategy will produce any better results than an old dysfunctional strategy. This becomes their reason for lack of planning and budgeting.
Mistake #7: Financial advisors fail to focus on money in motion
Financial advisors tell us their target markets are HNW, VHNW, or UHNW investors. Some may identify with particular types of investors, such as retirees, business owners, or women.
In each case, these are broad categories that miss the key point. The money has to be in motion for it to be a marketing opportunity for financial advisors. Money in motion is another way of saying the investors' assets are liquid and available for investment. The assets are not liquid if they are tied up in 401k plans, businesses, real estate, and other illiquid alternatives.
Financial advisors should be targeting investors who are:
- Business owners who want to sell their businesses and retire
- Changing jobs and rolling 401k assets into IRAs
- Recently divorced or widowed
- Recent inheritors of large sums of money
- Retiring and rolling their retirement assets into IRAs
- Relocating to another city and prefer local advisors
- Unhappy with their current advisors and want to make changes
These life events are the triggers that make assets liquid and available. In each example, there is an immediate need for financial advice and services.
Very few advisors describe their target markets this way.
A high percentage of financial advisors are better at planning and investing than they are at marketing and sales. They may be satisfied with the current sizes of their businesses because they support their current lifestyles.
On the other hand, an equally high percentage of financial advisors want to expand the size of their firms and increase their future value over time. These financial advisors need marketing strategies and budgets that enable them to achieve their goals for bigger, more profitable businesses. Consider working with a digital marketing agency to grow your business and connect with your ideal clients. Contact Paladin today to see how we can help.